LONDON — Liverpool’s fine start to the Women’s Super League (WSL) season came to a shuddering halt as Everton grabbed a 1-0 win in the Merseyside derby at Anfield, while Manchester City thrashed Bristol City 5-0 to lead the table.
Liverpool followed up an opening-day 1-0 win over Arsenal with a 2-0 defeat of Aston Villa last week but Everton defender Megan Finnigan scored with a header from a corner in the 31st minute to hand them their first league defeat of the season.
That result saw the Reds slip to fifth spot after City’s hammering of bottom side Bristol put them top with seven points after three games, one point ahead of Liverpool.
City blew newly-promoted Bristol away with a blistering opening 45 minutes that saw them score all five of their goals, with Jill Roord and Bunny Shaw each netting twice and fullback Laia Alexandri netting their other goal.
Everton’s energetic performance in their first win of the season moves them up to eighth on three points, a point and a place behind Arsenal, who needed two goals in second-half stoppage time to come from behind and beat Aston Villa 2-1.
Irish winger Katie McCabe levelled for the Gunners in the 92nd minute and England midfielder Beth Mead, making her first appearance 11 months after sustaining a serious knee injury, teed up Alessia Russo for the winner two minutes later.
It was Russo’s first league goal for the Gunners since her move from Manchester United in the close season and came in front of a crowd of more than 35,000 at the Emirates.
Leicester City is second on goal difference with seven points after a gritty 1-1 draw at Manchester United, who has five, while Tottenham Hotspur rose to fourth on six after coming from a goal down to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 away.
Willie Kirk’s second-place side has seven points from three games, level with leaders Manchester City, who thrashed Bristol City 5-0.
Captain Aileen Whelan struck at the far post from a freekick in the 60th minute to give Leicester a surprise lead, having frustrated their hosts for an hour.
However, defender Maya Le Tissier equalised seven minutes later when she headed home Katie Zelem’s corner to the delight of the home fans.
Leicester have been a revelation early this campaign, unbeaten in their first three games after a 10th-place finish last season.
“Most teams outside of the top four have that inferiority complex,” said Kirk. “Our players never believed in themselves in the first half.”
United were relentless in attack, narrowly missing two brilliant chances in first-half stoppage time. Hinata Miyazawa saw her shot cannon off the crossbar before Melvine Malard headed the rebound over, cradling her head in disbelief.
United lost Gabby George early in the game with what appeared to be a serious injury, the defender immediately waving for help when she fell.
Champions Chelsea is third on seven points after goals in each half from Sam Kerr and Erin Cuthbert gave them a comfortable 2-0 home win over West Ham United.
After a frustrating opening half-hour the 30-year-old Kerr, who suffered a calf injury at the World Cup that caused her to miss the first two league games of the season, headed home a Niamh Charles cross to break the deadlock.
The visitors had several chances to even things up, but Chelsea dominated possession and substitute Erin Cuthbert netted in the 90th minute to seal the three points.